Prosecutors considering death penalty in Starbucks shooting case - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Prosecutors considering death penalty in Starbucks shooting case

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Pedro J. Garcia (Source: LVMPD) Pedro J. Garcia (Source: LVMPD)

The man accused of shooting and killing a customer in a Las Vegas Starbucks may face the death penalty. 

On Friday, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told FOX5 he was considering filing for the death penalty in the case against Pedro Garcia, 34. Police said that on Sunday Garcia went into the Starbucks coffee shop located at Warm Springs Road and Rainbow Boulevard after his credit card was declined in the drive-thru.

[READ: Las Vegas Starbucks killing suspect appears in court]

Witnesses told FOX5 he fired a gun into the air, and then shot and killed Alexander Khutsishvili, 41, who was a customer in the coffee shop. Police said Khutsishvili and Garcia did not know each other. 

"So many of us visit Starbucks and all we want to do is get a cup of coffee or a cold drink, so for this to happen in the middle of the day, that's pretty unusual," Wolfson said, describing the crime as "brazen."

[READ: Suspect in killing inside Las Vegas Starbucks identified]

Wolfson said that brazenness will be a factor when deciding whether to file for the death penalty. He said another factor will be Garcia's criminal history. Garcia was a felon and was not allowed to have a gun. 

"A person's criminal history has a direct bearing on how we treat a case and how we should expect a resolution," Wolfson said.

Wolfson said bringing the death penalty into a case can make it more difficult to prosecute, and more expensive.

"Certainly when you file the death penalty, it raises the bar for everything. The death penalty costs more money to our taxpayers, defense lawyers spend more time investigating the case and preparing the case. There's a lot more at stake as you're considering asking the jury to sentence somebody to death."

[READ: Coroner identifies victim of shooting at Las Vegas Starbucks]

There is a panel that discusses the use of the death penalty, but Wolfson said ultimately it is his decision, and it's a decision that he doesn't take lightly. 

"I consider this to be one of the most important, difficult decisions to make because there it so much at stake," Wolfson said. "We still have the death penalty as a law in Nevada, and as long as it remains the law in Nevada, my obligation is to consider it in appropriate cases."

Garcia was charged with murder with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a firearm, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

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